View of Perth
Airbnb property owners in WA will receive $10,000 if they switch from short to long-term rentals. Image by Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS
  • housing and urban planning

Airbnb owners offered $10,000 to rent homes long-term

Aaron Bunch November 9, 2023

Airbnb owners and other short-term rental accommodation providers will be handed nation-leading $10,000 incentives to lease their properties to long-term tenants.

The scheme is part of a slew of changes introduced by the West Australian government to boost the housing supply and regulate the growing short-term rental market.

Community groups say the strategy could double the state’s rental housing supply but Airbnb and Stayz are not so sure.

A file photo of Roger Cook
 WA Premier Roger Cook said the rules balanced the rights of property owners with community needs. Image by Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS 

Premier Roger Cook said short-term rentals had made some local neighbourhoods and communities less desirable places to live.

“They have an impact upon the availability of long-term rental accommodation,” he told reporters on Thursday.

Mr Cook said the new rules addressed the needs of the broader community, including the tourism industry and local government areas, while preserving landlords’ rights.

All short-term rental accommodation providers will be required to register their properties by January 1, 2025 before being able to advertise and take bookings, including from online platforms such as Airbnb and Stayz.

Planning requirements in the Perth area will also be changed, with local government approval required for unhosted short-term rental accommodation that operates for more than 90 nights in 12 months.

Local governments in regional areas will determine when planning approval is required.

Perth houses
 WA has introduced a slew of measures to boost housing supply and regulate short-term rentals. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

The government has budgeted $2.7 million for the incentive scheme but said it was open to expanding it.

To qualify, property owners need to have had an entire property for rent on short-stay booking platforms within the previous six weeks.

Applicants will be required to provide a minimum 12-month lease agreement to new, long-term tenants with a maximum rent of $800 per week in Perth and $650 in the state’s southwest.

Rules around short-term accommodation vary across the nation, with a levy in place in Victoria and an annual cap in NSW in Greater Sydney and some regional areas. 

The popular coastal holiday town of Byron Bay will introduce a 60-day annual cap on short-term rentals next year.

WA Opposition housing spokesman Steve Martin said the scheme would not address the cause of the housing crisis – a lack of houses.

Aerial view of houses
 Queensland is considering creating a register of short-term rentals. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS 

“Paying landlords to move their homes from the short-term rental market to a 12-month lease is nothing more than a short-term shuffle,” he said.

Airbnb Australia public policy head Michael Crosby questioned whether the incentive scheme would be effective, saying short-term rentals were a small percentage of the total housing stock in WA.

“Housing issues have existed long before the founding of Airbnb and targeting these properties is not a long-term solution,” he said.

Airbnb property owner Sherrise Todd doesn’t believe the incentive scheme will work.

“The potential income from short-term rentals is too good and many property owners won’t want to give it up,” she said.

“Especially with costs and interests rates rising”.

Stayz government and corporate affairs director Eacham Curry raised concerns about the foreshadowed planning requirements.

“Some regional WA councils have already indicated they are considering onerous new restrictions that, if employed, will likely bring severe economic impacts to the local short-term rental market and by extension, the wider community,” he said.

Shelter WA chief executive Kath Snell said there were about three short-term rentals for every private rental currently listed in WA.

“If these reforms incentivise just one-quarter of the Airbnbs into rental housing that will literally double the current rental supply,” she said.

There were 1739 properties listed for rent in Perth in the week ending November 5, according to the Real Estate Institute of WA.

The Inside Airbnb data website shows there were 9641 short-stay houses and apartments listed for rent in WA on September 21.